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Janssen Announces the Introduction of Connect for Life(TM) Program to Improve the Prevention of Mother-to-child HIV Transmission Within Vulnerable Communities in India

NEW DELHI, December 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ —

New Partnership With Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India (SAATHII) Aims to Address Major HIV Knowledge Gaps Amongst Pregnant Women in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana 

Janssen, the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, today announced that Connect for Life™, a comprehensive human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Disease Management Program, has been launched in partnership with Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India (SAATHII), a non-governmental organization working to strengthen HIV prevention, care, support and treatment interventions in India.

As part of the Connect for Life™ program, Janssen will support the development of m-Maitri , an initiative to educate pregnant women on techniques to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission. Based on the stage of their pregnancy, women will receive tailored voice messages to their mobile phones offering general advice and support on pregnancy as well as specific information about being pregnant and HIV positive.

“Through Connect for Life™’s support for m-Maitri, we are looking to close some significant knowledge gaps that put many children at risk of being infected with HIV,” said Dr Randeep Gill, Disease Management Programs Leader, Janssen, on the Connect for Life™ initiative. “By connecting directly with mothers, the m-Maitri platform offers a discreet way to share potentially lifesaving information. Through our partnership with SAATHII, we will work to ensure that accurate, up-to-date information is available and accessible to support these women throughout their pregnancy and beyond.”  

The initiative will target the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. These two areas have high HIV burdens1 and see less than a quarter of women give birth in a health facility. Nationally, more than a quarter of people living with HIV are not aware that they have the virus, due to sub-optimal testing2.

Approximately 1,000 pregnant women with HIV will be engaged through a network of 200 private healthcare facilities and will be offered support for two years. Evidence-based health education materials will be provided to the women and to healthcare workers at the facilities. The program will also enable easier and regular follow up with the women.

India has the third largest HIV epidemic in the world with an estimated 2.1 million people living with the virus, of which over 850,000 are women3. Of HIV-exposed infants, born to approximately 35,000 HIV positive pregnant women in 2015; an estimated 15-45% would have been infected with HIV in the absence of an appropriate intervention. This number could be reduced to below 5% if all mothers and babies received appropriate care and treatment following international guidelines4.

“Certain communities and states in India carry a high burden of HIV infections, with poorly linked care services and little education or support available for pregnant women,” said Dr. L. Ramakrishnan, Vice President of SAATHII. “This vital partnership with Janssen’s Connect for Life™ initiative comes at a critical time, allowing us to improve the care journey for women living with HIV throughout their pregnancy.”

By collaborating with SAATHII in India, Janssen is extending its commitment to addressing global unmet public health needs on a more focused and local basis. Such collaborations work to ensure solutions are appropriate for the region and that the needs of the community are understood so that the best outcome for patients are achieved.

About Connect for Life™ 

Connect for Life™ is an initiative of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, that engages in research partnerships with leading health advocates to improve the understanding of, and attitudes towards, diseases such as HIV, TB and other infectious diseases. The program aims to address major challenges in disease management by placing the patient and their healthcare provider at the center of the decision making process and developing the necessary evidence base to guide national policy and clinical management, to in turn achieve lasting positive impact against some of the greatest public health challenges.

About Johnson & Johnson 

Caring for the world one person at a time inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. We embrace research and science bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people. Our approximately 127,500 employees at more than 250 Johnson & Johnson operating companies work with partners in health care to touch the lives of over a billion people every day, throughout the world. 

Our Commitment to Global Public Health 

For 130 years, Johnson & Johnson has been committed to improving the health of individuals, families and communities around the world, including the most vulnerable populations. Today, our vibrant, entrepreneurial and committed employees bring business acumen and their collaborative spirit to help solve some of the most complex global health problems. By harnessing our collective breadth and scale, and our employees’ passion and purpose, we strive to advance health care and positively impact the lives of all people. 

About the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies 

At the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, we are working to create a world without disease. Transforming lives by finding new and better ways to prevent, intercept, treat and cure disease inspires us. We bring together the best minds and pursue the most promising science. We are Janssen. We collaborate with the world for the health of everyone in it. Learn more at http://www.janssen.com .

References 

  1. India HIV Estimations, 2015. Technical Report. National AIDS Control Organisation, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Available at: http://www.indiahivinfo.naco.gov.in/naco/resource/india-hiv-estimations-2015-technical-report  Last accessed November 29, 2016
  2. Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre. National AIDS Control Organisation, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Available at http://naco.gov.in/integrated-counselling-and-testing-centre  Last accessed November 29, 2016
  3. India HIV Estimations, 2015. Technical Report. National AIDS Control Organisation, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Available at: http://www.naco.gov.in/sites/default/files/India%20HIV%20Estimations%202015.pdf  Last accessed November 29, 2016
  4. Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV. World Health Organization. Available at http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/mtct/about/en/  Last accessed November 29, 2016

Media Contacts:

Joshina Kapoor
Manager – Corporate Communication 
Johnson & Johnson Private Limited 
+91 9820711080
Jkapoor2@its.jnj.com

Rob Kelly
Regional Senior Manager
Janssen Asia-Pacific
+65 98225543
rkelly@its.jnj.com

Shilpy Roy
Edelman India Private Limited
+91-9650111652
shilpy.roy@edelman.com

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